Bangladesh construction and cement sectors meet COVID-19 challenges

Bangladesh construction and cement sectors meet COVID-19 challenges
01 April 2020

The Bangladeshi cement and construction industries have been directly and indirectly affected by the ongoing measures taken by the country's government to control the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The country, which has been on holiday since 26 March, is likely to see its time off extended by five additional days to 9 April as a result. This is expected to impact the cement supply chain and continue to disrupt the implementation of large projects, according to local media reports.
The outbreak has compelled Bangladesh to enforce general closure across the country, shutting public and private offices and educational institutions, limiting banking activities and transport movement.
The unprecedented measures have suspended the construction works of all major infrastructure projects, worth more than US$30bn, including the Padma Bridge, Rooppur nuclear power plant, Matarbari power plant, Karnaphuli river tunnel and Dhaka metro rail. According to Khondaker Golam Moazzem, research director of the Centre for Policy Dialogue, one of the reasons for the suspension of construction works, is that neither foreign or local employees can work under the prevailing situation, which will definitely slow down the progress of the projects and in the long run affect the economy.
Md Alamgir Kabir, president of the Bangladesh Cement Manufacturers Association (BCMA), was of the view that most of the raw materials used in the cement sector come from the remote areas of the countries where population density is very low. So, there is little scope for the virus to spread from these areas. However, the virus may spread through the crew who work in the ships used to transport the raw materials. However, there has been no news of the crew being infected with the virus since its outbreak.
“So, I think the import of the raw materials in the cement sector is safer compared to import in other sectors,” Mr Kabir said. But, according to him, the coronavirus has already considerably affected the local industries in two ways. First, there are many foreign companies in Bangladesh. Most of their engineers are absent ,which has adversely impacted development work. Second, private sector development has slowed to some extent.

Published under Cement News